Despite being a great place to see famous film people, this is also a great place to watch films that a) don't have a distributor and b) haven't yet been released. Also, as blogger The Playlist notes, this is a place to view the Cannes pics of the year. For the past few years, the Palme d'Or winner and other films that played In Competition and Un Certain Regard have shown at the NYFF, which makes it an event of some anticipation for me (although I do want to enjoy the summer).
Here is a list of films that I think may be at the 2010 New York Film Festival, backed up with pieces of evidence as to why:
Blue Valentine (dir. Derek Cianfrance) - This will probably garner one of the three esteemed spots: Opening Night, Centerpiece, or Closing Night. The star power is huge. Plus, this film has taken an identical route to last year's centerpiece "Precious," from Sundance to the Un Certain Regard Category at Cannes. Plus, it has a distributor, and films with distributors have bigger showings. Almost guaranteed to make some sort of showing.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) - As said above, the NYFF has played the Palme winner on and off since 2005, and I'm positive this will continue the trend. Also, Weerasethakul's last two films ("Tropical Malady" and "Syndromes and a Century") showed in previous programs. (Side note: it would be awesome to be graced with Weerasethakul's presence.)
Poetry (dir. Lee Chang-dong) - Same as Weerasethakul, Chang-dong has played here before, with the underseen "Secret Sunshine" in 2007.
Another Year (dir. Mike Leigh) - Leigh's past two works, "Vera Drake" and "Happy-Go-Lucky" took places in NYFF programs. And a Leigh film always rounds out a program.
Of Gods and Men (dir. Xavier Beavois) - Gran Prix winners are popular. Especially Gran Prix winners that have distributors (then again, don't they all?)
Certified Copy (dir. Abbas Kiarostami) - The director's "Ten" played here in 2002 and "Taste of Cherry" in 1997. This looks like it could be an Opening Night, Closing Night, or Centerpiece because of Kiarostami's and Binoche's combined star power.
Aurora (dir. Christi Puiu) - NYFF/Film Society of Lincoln Center is big into the Romanian New Wave, and Puiu's debut film "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" played there in 2005.
Hahaha (dir. Hong Sang-soo) - His "Like You Know It All" played at Film Comment Selects, and the previous Un Certain Regard Prize winner "Dogtooth" played at a Film Society event this year. Less sure that this will bow there, but it very well may.
The Frankenstein Project (dir. Kornel Mondruczo) - This could be wishful thinking, but Mondruzco's previous film "Delta" played at the Chicago Film Festival, which sometimes mirrors the NYFF program. This seems like a good debut at the NYFF for Mr. Mondruczo.
Biutiful (dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) - "21 Grams" was a selection in 2003, but "Babel" wasn't (although it played at Chicago). However, the debacle over the distributor (which I'm not sure if it has or doesn't have), the fact that Javier Bardem won Best Actor, and that Inarritu is a big name perhaps could lead to a Opening or Closing Night, but probably not Centerpiece.
My Joy (dir. Sergei Losnitsa) - Looks like a NYFF-type film to me.
Carlos (dir. Olivier Assayas) - The film will play similarly to "Che" (which it has been oft compared to) at the NYFF. Since it's IFC and since festival programmer Todd McCarthy loved it, it will surely make an appearance. Like I'll be surprised if it doesn't.
Heartbeats (dir. Xavier Dolan) - His film "I Killed My Mother" figured big in New Directors/New Films, so I don't see this new one missing out.
A Screaming Man (dir. Mahamat Saleh-Haroun) - More of the wishful thinking, maybe? Then again, a filmmaker can make a debut.
The Princess of Montpensier (dir. Bertrand Tavernier) - IFC is releasing this, and it's by a very prestigious director. He's been at the Chicago Film Festival before (not sure if whether he's graced Lincoln Center), and I suspect he'll show here this year.
Those are at least the Cannes picks. Maybe I'll look at the Venice selection and see if anything there may cross over.